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Africa’s Green Economy Summit: Commitment to key strategies for investment-ready green infrastructure projects

African governments have improved processes for infrastructure development

“Africa is full of potential infrastructure project opportunities in the pipeline. There is a great need and availability of funding to be spent on the continent. We just need to fix that missing link and carry through projects to a financial close to finally close the infrastructure gap.” This is according to Hendrik Malan, CEO and partner at Frost & Sullivan and one of many expert speakers who will address the upcoming Africa’s Green Economy Summit taking place from 22–24 February 2023.

The programme of this investment gathering was announced this week. Africa’s Green Economy Summit is part of the E-Fest Cape Town that will culminate in the Formula E 2023 Cape Town E-Prix race in the same week on 25 February 2023.

As a platform, Africa’s Green Economy Summit will bring together investors, developers and governments, highlighting investment prospects that exist in the fields of green hydrogen, EVs and hybrid vehicles, energy storage, solar, hydro and wind energy, infrastructure development, urban sustainability as well as manufacturing.

Infrastructure investment opportunities

Recently, at COP27 in Egypt, Frost and Sullivan presented a report on “Showcasing AFRICA’S Investable Infrastructure Opportunities”. According to the report, African governments’ progress has been too slow and inconsistent at regional and at certain industry levels towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the corresponding African Union’s Agenda 2063 goals in their national strategies and development plans.

Key challenges identified include i) the absence of long-term master plans, ii) poorly conducted feasibility studies and business plans and iii) delays in obtaining licenses or permits and poor coordination between government agencies. However, Frost & Sullivan state that, in mitigation of these issues, African governments have been working on master plans, such as the hydrogen roadmaps, as well as establishing task force teams to fast-track processes and aid developers along the entire infrastructure development cycle.

Getting projects investment-ready

“While we know that challenges exist, the estimated $2.5 trillion gap of annual funding needed is an indication of the investment opportunities available for Africa’s accelerated adoption of renewable energy, clean transport and clean technologies, such as green hydrogen, driving social change and development,” says Emmanuelle Nicholls, Project Lead of Africa’s Green Economy Summit.

Africa’s Green Economy Summit will showcase and present African cities, people and projects that are committed to the strategies needed to build a green economy and making projects investment-ready. The industry has responded with excitement to our very practical and pragmatic programme for next year’s launch event. The fact that technology and investment pioneers, such as ABB and the AfDB (African Development Bank), have partnered with the entire E-Fest in Cape Town in February next year is a valuable vote of confidence in the future of African infrastructure investment.”

Expert and keynote speakers on the programme from South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire and the DRC that have been confirmed so far include:

  • Hon. Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda
  • Lisa Pinsley, Partner, Head of Middle East & Africa, Energy, Actis, South Africa
  • Dr Hubert Danso, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Investor, South Africa
  • Alan Winde, Premier, Western Cape Province, South Africa
  • Vuyo Hlompho Ntoi, Joint Managing Director, African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), South Africa
  • Teddy Mugabo, Fonerwa Rwanda Green Fund, Rwanda
  • Geordin Hill-Lewis, Executive Mayor, City of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Olympus Manthata, Head of Climate and Environmental Finance, DBSA, South Africa
  • Joanne Bate, Chief Operating Officer, IDC, South Africa
  • Shameela Soobramoney, Chief Sustainability Officer, JSE Green Bond, South Africa
  • MEC Mireille Wenger, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, South Africa
  • Hendrik Malan, Partner and Africa CEO, Frost & Sullivan, South Africa
  • Hastings Chikoko, Director of Regions & Mayoral Engagement & Regional Director for Africa, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, South Africa
  • Michelle Defreese, Senior Officer, The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Rwanda
  • Lisa Walker, Director, Energy Office, Power Africa, South Africa
  • Greg Blandford, Director of Energy and E-Mobility, Rubicon, South Africa
  • Bodom Matungu, Technical Adviser, Transport Infrastructures and Urban Transport, Office of the Special Adviser, Head of State for Investments, DRC
  • Toukam Ngoufanke, Senior Venture Builder, Persistent Energy, Kenya

The Africa’s Green Economy Summit programme’s main session themes and highlights include:

  • Creating a favourable regulatory economy towards sustainability and equity
  • Transforming urban mobility: Ground-breaking projects that are leading the charge
  • Increasing clean energy capital flows to African markets: Creating a pipeline for investors
  • Green industrialisation: Localising production and scaling manufacturing in Africa
  • Building climate resilient cities and sustainable infrastructure systems in Africa
  • Blending finance to scale up solutions: DFIs, public finance, green funds and green bonds
  • The ESG investment boom: Initiatives, funding available and what investors are looking for

The full programme to date can be viewed here.

Hear what our expert advisory board members think:

  • “I think the ideal in a green economy we would see both decarbonisation and job creation happening across the board in many sectors, not just energy, but also in water and our food supply chains, and this is a complex and multidisciplinary challenge for all involved to achieve that. And so, I think what is necessary is to have a shared vision, or perhaps even before a shared vision, a shared understanding of these challenges.” – Frank Spencer, the head of deployments at Bushveld Energy, which is developing a local value chain for locally made vanadium redox flow batteries.
  • “At Africa’s Green Economy Summit in February next year, my biggest message will be that collaboration is the new competitive advantage. I am looking forward to the exposure, awareness, connecting and collaborating. And not just within Africa, but from a global perspective, as opposed to silos of just South Africa and Africa.“ – Grace Legodi, venture partner and Investment Committee Member at Grindstone Ventures, and consultant to The World Bank Group’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development in Southern Africa.
  • “The green economy isn’t a thing. It is THE thing, right? It’s everything. The economy as a whole is making a shift towards green. You cannot produce things in an environmentally unfriendly manner anymore because the consumer just does not want to consume those things. It is embedded in everyday business; the way people just do business.” – Jarrod Lyons, business development and marketing at the Atlantis SEZ (Special Economic Zone) in Cape Town, a developer of industrial property that houses green technology manufacturing.
  • Rwanda typically tends to punch above its weight. You know, it’s a relatively small country geographically, but at the same time, has really emerged as a leader in so many different climate areas. When you look at the Kigali Agreement amendment and you look at just the number of different examples of the way that Rwanda is really leading in climate action, not only in terms of negotiation and climate diplomacy, but in terms of action.” – Michelle DeFreese, a Senior Officer with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), who is embedded in Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment (MoE).
  • The biggest challenge is changing the norm. We are used to our budget process, our strategic planning processes, annually tabling and getting Parliament to approve national departments’ annual performance plans (APPs), five-year strategic plans, and we are used to having the entire budget process itself following a specific term of its own, and we never spoke green. At some point, we spoke of sustainability. So now, we are realising that the whole package has to be repackaged has to be reviewed in light of a greener recovery and sustainable development. – Palesa Shipalana, Chief Sector Expert on Economy and Infrastructure in South Africa’s Presidency, in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
  • One of GreenCape’s current projects is attracting electric vehicle manufacturing investment and to create a greenfield electric vehicle manufacturing industry in the Western Cape. Traditionally, the Western Cape has not had an automotive manufacturing industry compared to Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KZN. Therefore, we see the transition to electric vehicles as a means of creating this new industry and stimulating much-needed jobs and investments in the green economy in the Western Cape.” – Prian Reddy, a senior analyst in sustainable mobility and energy storage at GreenCape, a green economy development agency in the Western Cape.

The full interviews with these and other experts can be viewed or watched on the here.

E-Fest Cape Town

Cape Town has become a home to a thriving green economy, creating opportunities to invest in this innovative space. The E-Fest in February 2023 offers a week of special events and entertainment to showcase sustainability, e-mobility and renewable energy solutions, underpinned by the international ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

Also known as the Cape Town E-Prix, it is the first Formula E race to be hosted in sub-Saharan Africa, and the first major open-wheel race since 1993. For the first time, South Africa will be able to witness Formula E’s thrilling line-up in person, as drivers race their electric-powered cars through the streets of Cape Town.

GO GREEN AFRICA” is the E-Fest call to action to businesses and individuals to level up by pledging a commitment to going green.